Unforgettable romantic holidays


Amanda Morison

Photography by Alberto Guglielmi © Getty Images

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May 2017

Whether it’s your first weekend away together or a big hurrah to mark your 50th wedding anniversary, British Airways Holidays has a loved-up escape that’s just right for the two of you, no matter where you are in your love story. If you like the ideas of hand-picked hotels and a choice of flight times that fit into your schedule, look no further. Travel editor Amanda Morison reveals seven ideas for creating those magic holiday moments you’ll never forget – all easily bookable in just a few clicks.

My wedding in New York was unforgettable… so many wonderful moments. We even got upgraded to First on our way out – Roberto, British Airways customer, Kidlington

We’ve been married for 45 years and renewed our vows on holiday in St Lucia at Coconut Bay Resort and Spa… Everything was arranged to the utmost degree by the wedding organiser Onita, who gave us a memory we shall always treasure – David, British Airways customer, Cyprus

Salzburg

Best for… a first-flush-of-love weekend break

Why here? Locals are a bit bemused by the British love affair with the Sound of Music, but acknowledge that the Salzburg area made a pretty stunning location for this most sing-a-long of films.

Don’t miss… Climbing every mountain and trip down the steps in the gardens of the Mirabell Palace, where Maria and the Von Trapp children sang ‘Doh Re Mi’ – and yes, there are lots of Sound of Music tours on offer.

The memorable moment: Head to the Maktplatz and climb inside British sculpture Tony Cragg’s large bronze sculpture. Created to look like sensuously flowing lava, look closely and you can make out three couples entwined in a passionate kiss.

Where to stay: Schloss Fuschl – A Luxury Collection Resort & SPA, overlooking Lake Fuschl and the mountains of the Salzkammergut, is ideally tranquil. It’s the former home of the archbishop of Salzburg and now a protected monument.

Search for your perfect first break in Salzburg

  • Soak up the panoramic views of Salzburg on a romantic walk through the city © Getty Images.

    Especially for you

    The world is your oyster: British Airways Holidays has selected more than 12,000 hotels across the globe – from 3 stars you can trust to 5 star luxury hotels that exceed expectations – each chosen with your special holiday in mind.

    Plan a trip to Salzburg
  • The views of Verona from the 84m Torre dei Lamberti are quite spectacular © Getty Images.

    Reasons to celebrate?

    The central location of many British Airways Holidays hotels means you’re only a short walk away from a host of great bars and restaurants. When it Italy, raise a glass Verona-style: locals are known to toast with a glass of bubbly franciacorta – the region’s version of Prosecco.£108 pp

    Plan a trip to Verona
  • Explore the private beach at Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury in Mauritius.

    And breathe…

    True relaxation comes from knowing all the essentials are taken care of. That’s why British Airways Holidays allow you to combine the flights, hotel and even car rental into one booking. With just a few clicks, you’re one step closer to your dream break.

    Plan a trip to Mauritius

Verona

Best for… popping the question (and getting a resounding ‘yes’)

Why here? Oh, fair Verona! Shakespeare set his famous play Romeo and Juliet in this Unesco World Heritage site (and we won’t let a little thing like pure fiction spoil the plot of an undeniably romantic break…)

Don’t miss… Casa di Giulietta (23 via Cappello), the centre of Juliet activities. A tiny balcony overlooks an equally tiny courtyard that’s home to a bronze statue of the famous doomed heroine. For luck in love – if you’re proposing we hope you won’t need it – rub Juliet’s right bosom.

Memorable moment: You’ll want to drink in the views, and at the top of the 270-foot high Torre dei Lamberti you can see all the way to Austria. Taking in an opera here is almost obligatory, and the Roman amphitheatre Arena di Verona stages passionate performances that will have you on the edge of your (marble) seat.

Where to stay: The centre of Verona is such a romantic draw that it’s always packed. Stay a short drive outside at the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista, where contemporary art by the likes of Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst sit in frescoed splendour. The restaurant also serves up food that looks like mini pieces of art.

Plan your perfect proposal in Verona

Mauritius

Best for… the ultimate ‘just because’ trip

Why here? The islands of the Indian Ocean should be top of any bucket list. Mauritius has an abundance of the golden beaches and warm waters that make coming here so special, plus endless other diversions, from trekking in rainforest to visiting tea plantations or perhaps a round or three at a world-class golf resort.

Don’t miss… With some of the best water sport facilities in the Indian Ocean, and water temperatures that never dip lower than 22-24 degrees, this is definitely the place for water babies and sea fishermen.

Memorable moment: Adrenaline junkies adore skydiving here, with Skydive Austral. If you’d rather not make the 40-second decent, charter a ride with Island Wings Mauritius and enjoy the incredible views.

Where to stay: Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury Mauritius is the most exclusive hotel within the chi-chi Beachcomber portfolio. With only 69 suites, you’ll enjoy a very exclusive home from home on a blissful white sand beach, and the only Clarins Spa on the island.

Treat yourselves ‘just because’ in Mauritius

St Kitts

Best for… a heart-stirring honeymoon

Why here? Because who doesn’t fancy a bit of serenity and relaxation after the whirl of the big day? At just 18 miles long and five miles wide, St Kitts is a pint-sized paradise, practically made for honeymooners. Celebrate your first days of married life with lazy strolls along the beach, leisurely paddling in the blue waters and a rum cocktail or two. Cheers!

Don’t miss… going barefoot. There are colourful reef dives to explore, and over a quarter of St Kitts is a National Park with a lush rainforest is so well protected it’s actually growing in size.

Memorable moment: There are so many unique experiences here, including the Caribbean’s longest zipline run by Sky Safari, which whizzes through the verdant rainforest. More sedate but just as much fun is a ride on the Scenic Railway, built with open-sided top decks. It was made for the sugar trade in the early 20th century and you can ride its 18 miles accompanied by the train’s choir and freshly made rum punch.

Where to stay: Prepare to lime (the local word for ‘chill’) at the Montpelier Plantation & Beach. Once an 18th century sugar plantation, Lord Nelson was married here – no doubt enjoying the private beach (now with Montpelier beach club) just as much as present day guests. With only 19 rooms set in 60 acres of tropical gardens, this is one of the finest small luxury hotels in the Caribbean.

Make magic happen in St Kitts

  • The St. Kitts Scenic Railway takes passengers on a three-hour scenic tour around the island.

    Support network

    Your holiday is the most important event in your calendar. That’s why British Airways holiday comes with an exclusive 24 Hour Holiday Helpline – if something happens, just call. For extra peace of mind, your holiday is also ATOL protected, meaning you’re covered if you lose your money or you’re stranded abroad.

    Plan a trip to St Kitts
  • Hop aboard a traditional dhoni boat in the Maldives © Getty Images.

    Do good, feel good

    Ensure lasting memories of your time in the Maldives by joining in a coral-planting session or planting a commemorative coconut palm tree. You’ll help preserve the local ecosystem while leaving a long-standing testament to your love.

    Plan a trip to the Maldives
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the world © Getty Images.

    Animal attraction

    “I’ll never forget the evening while on safari in South Africa when my (now) husband surprised me with a private dinner in the heart of the game reserve – where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes. We even saw a shooting star that evening as we celebrated with Champagne.” – Liesl Lamare, luxury wedding and event planner @lamarelondon.

    Luxury event planner

The Maldives

Best for… a ‘just the two of us’ babymoon

Why here? The sands are as fine as talcum powder, and as you’ll soon be using the stuff very soon, why not enjoy being somewhere lie-ins are practically the law? More than 1,000 coral islands are strung out in the Indian Ocean like pearls on a necklace. You can spend your whole time here on a sunlounger or in the sea without a single hawker to disturb the peace.

Don't miss… A flipper away from any beach you’ll be able to snorkel in a rainbow-coloured world – plus every hotel will happily organise a private meal where you can eat with your toes in the sands.

Memorable moment: A sail on traditional wooden dhoni boat will allow you to fish for your own sushi feast, snorkel in complete private, explore a deserted island or even get up close to a pod of dolphins.

Where to stay: This is a destination with underwater restaurants, Michelin-star dining, and impressive wine cellars. Don’t expect budget accommodation, but Reethi Beach Resort prides itself on offering fabulous quality at great value. It’s also a good choice for couples who like to occasionally leave their sunlounger, because its home to one of the largest sports complexes, with tennis, badminton and a freshwater pool.

Book your last hurrah in the Maldives

Iceland

Best for… quality alone-time (without the kids)

Why here? Such is Iceland’s ‘Instagram appeal’ that visitors here outnumber the population by three to one. They’re drawn by an otherworldly landscape of puttering geysers, black sand beaches and – if very lucky, and probably between September and April – the natural fireworks of the Northern Lights.

Don’t miss… The Secret Lagoon geothermal spa is where most visitors head for a mineral-rich soak (pre-booking essential). However, the entire landscape is so packed with natural hot springs that locals all have their own favourite spots where they take a dip for free – ask anyone politely and they might share their secret. And don’t feel you have to eat puffin or rotten shark. New restaurants springing up include Dill, the nation’s first to be awarded a Michelin Star. It was only a recent award so get booking (open Wednesday to Saturday only).

Memorable moment: As you’re sans enfants, make the most of it by doing something you definitely couldn’t do with them in tow. At Lake Thingvallavatn you can dive or snorkel in a gap between two continents, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

Where to stay: In Reykjavik, the Alda Hotel is stylish and contemporary with a chic lobby bar and a good location for the city’s main shopping and nightlife street, Laugavegur. If you want to roam further, Icelandair Hotel Klaustur sits pretty in southeast Iceland between two of the nation’s most famous glaciers.

Plan your adults-only adventure in Iceland

  • Cape Grace in Cape Town offers stunning views at sunset.

    Twice as nice

    Want to see more of South Africa? With the British Airways Holidays ‘Customise Your Trip’ tool, you can combine two or more destinations into one trip, so you can make the most of every experience and enjoy twice the holiday.

    Plan your trip

Cape Town

Best for… happily ever after

Why here? One of the world’s most cosmopolitan and beautiful cities, Cape Town is famous for its spectacular natural beauty, beaches and food scene. You can live four holidays in any given day here.

Don’t miss… You’ll run out of time because there’s so much you’ll want to experience. Trek the famous Table Mountain, splash through the waves at Noordhoek, admire the plants at Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens, meet the penguins at Boulder’s Beach and eat and drink through the menus at any number of incredible restaurants and wineries.

Memorable moment: Cape Town’s coastline is so spectacular that it makes sense to enjoy it to the full. One of the best ways is by luxury yacht (you might even get to cruise alongside a pod of dolphins).

Where to stay: Located on its own private quay, Cape Grace is both central but away from the most visited tourist areas. The service is top notch, and in keeping with its Naval-themed fixtures and fittings. Ask for a room with a marina view and enjoy the gin palaces gliding in and out of the harbour.